Yes, bacteria can develop into cavities, but holistic dental hygienist Kathleen Bernardi reminds us that a host of good bacteria also maintain and clean our mouths, building naturally healthier teeth. Here, Bernardi shares some ways to keep the good bacteria balanced, plus several other tips to keep our mouths clean, healthy, and happy.
1. Avoid Glycerin
Many holistic dental care professionals believe that that we develop cavities when the balance between demineralization and remineralization in our teeth is thrown off. Bernardi believes that the glycerin found in most commercial toothpastes coats our teeth and can impede important remineralization processes by preventing the healing mechanisms found in our saliva from bathing our teeth and tissues. Our saliva is part of the delicate process that promotes healing and remineralization, but if our teeth are covered in glycerin they won’t be able to properly function, and we can end up with a mouthful of cavities.
2. Maintain Healthy Bacterial Balance
If we have an unhealthy balance of bacteria in our mouths, it can lead to tooth decay and other diseases. Bernardi has a few great ways to help keep things balanced:
Tongue scraping removes bacteria and other toxins from the mouth, keeping breath fresh and bacteria in balance.
Interdental cleaning with floss and/or a water pick is a great way to help mechanically remove bad bacteria.
Salt-water rinses can be a great temporary solution to help rebalance bacteria.
Probiotics can help repopulate health-promoting bacteria in the mouth.
Use essential oils such as spearmint, peppermint, or almond oil to clean or use a tooth cleaning powder that contains myrrh, such as Eco-Dent, to keep your mouth clean and free of chemicals.
3. Get Fat Soluble Vitamins
Bernardi believes that one of the most important factors in strong teeth is adequate intake of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, and especially K, as these vitamins help with absorption of crucial minerals and tell our bodies where to put them. Even if we’re eating tons of magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium, if we’re not absorbing these nutrients, we won’t be building strong teeth.
4. Eat A Clean Diet
One of the best ways to maintain good oral health is to eat a clean diet full of bone-building minerals. Bernardi points to research done by Weston A. Price that shows that communities who ate traditional diets loaded with real foods that were free from processed sugars and other food additives had healthy teeth. She says to specifically avoid acidifying foods such as sugary sodas and wine as they can soften the enamel and make it more susceptible to erosion. We should also avoid brushing immediately after eating to help avoid enamel erosion.
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